Financial literacy and self employment – The moderating effect of gender and race

Elisabeth M. Struckell, Pankaj C. Patel, Divesh Ojha, Pejvak Oghazi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Within the next decade, the number of self-employed workers, now 40% of the workforce, is predicted to surpass that of traditional employees. Managing finances (financial literacy) is an important skill set for self-employment. We bring attention to the growing prevalence of self-employment at a time when financial literacy is in decline in the United States. Using a sample of 15,069 participants in the 2015 and 2018 National Financial Capability Study, we find support for a positive association between financial literacy and self-employment in a U.S. context and extend prior research by focusing on two widely studied and important U.S. demographic segments in self-employment and entrepreneurship literature – gender and race. Contrary to other U.S.-based studies, we find that women with higher financial literacy scores are more likely to be self-employed than men; yet surprisingly, there is no significant difference in the association between higher financial literacy scores and self-employment between non-white and white U.S. respondents. We discuss the implications of the findings for researchers, policymakers, educators, and those considering self-employment.

Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalJournal of Business Research
Pages (from-to)639-653
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 10.2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • Financial literacy
  • Gender
  • Human capital theory
  • Race
  • Self-employment

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